My name is Tracey and I had Executive and Outplacement Coaching with Denise Chilton. When I started working with Denise, I was working for a housing association as Head of Organisational Development. It was a lovely organisation and the team was lovely, but the daily commute was getting very difficult and the role was no longer challenging me because I had been there for six years. Therefore, I was looking to move on and change my career.
As part of the restructuring of my former organisation, it was mutually agreed that I would take redundancy. I had already been developing someone, so they could take over my role, so it was a good opportunity for all parties; myself, my successor and the business. The organisation offered outplacement support up to a certain monetary value, but I specifically requested outplacement coaching. I felt that it would work better for me and I already had Denise in mind because she had provided coaching to a senior colleague of mine and I knew that that had been hugely successful for her. It also meant that I had met Denise a few times and I felt that we had the right relationship.
Furthermore, when I was looking for coaching, I had a lot of change going on in my life. One of my personal issues included the break-up of a long-term relationship. Denise’s book, Suddenly Single, came out while I was dealing with my break up, thinking about a career change and trying to get my head in the right place to look at some practical changes. Reading her book convinced me that I needed a coaching approach which looked at all aspects of my life, including my career, personal life, finances and wellbeing.
Because Suddenly Single had such a big impact on me, I knew I had to work through my personal issues before I could get myself into the right place to look for a new role. Denise and I agreed that, because I was a HR professional, I did not need the “how to do a CV” or “how to interview” aspects of coaching. What I needed help with was self-confidence and my organisation was happy for me to focus on personal as well as professional issues.
My coaching programme took place over the six months between June 2017 and December 2017. We would meet at a hotel near to my office and it was lovely because we would sit out in the garden throughout the summer. It was very informal and we would just sit, have a coffee and time would just fly by. Each session would last for a couple of hours and then Denise would give me things to go away and work on and think about in the meantime.
My first “homework” was to go on holiday on my own. In our first coaching session together, I was talking to Denise about how I felt that I needed to get away from everything. I had started applying for jobs, going for interviews and my ex-partner had found somebody else. She said, “your homework is to book a holiday, tell me when you’ve done it and when you’ve gone, you need to send me a selfie of you on your balcony”. And so, I took myself off to Majorca for four days. Denise was brilliant, she kept in touch. She said “you look amazing, you’re really brave and you’re doing really well”.
Denise used The Chimp Paradox as a basis for our coaching sessions. The single biggest benefit of coaching to me personally has been becoming aware of my “chimp” and understanding when my rational voice is talking and when my chimp is talking. I used to be very emotionally reactive and quite volatile. My emotions were not in my control but being able to manage my inner voice has lead to me having better and more balanced relationships with my children, friends and partner. Denise helped me to recognise actual known facts. After all, I could not have sustained a senior role for so long if I was a rubbish HR professional. That was just my chimp talking. Realising that I was successful and reflecting on positive feedback I had received really gave me a lot of confidence.
However, the biggest professional benefit is the self confidence because I now know that I do have the ability and the experience that I need to make it. Before coaching, I thought “how can I go out and sell myself when I am an emotional mess? How will I get a role that is even the same level as the one I am in now?” But actually, even before my coaching programme was over, I had secured a more senior position in a new organisation.
I started my new role in the middle of November 2017. This role is another head of HR role, but it is in a much larger organisation which is also nationwide. My former company had 500 employees, whereas this one has 5000. It is a completely different sector and so I am spending a lot of time getting out into the business and building relationships. I am already getting some great feedback. I have also been able to change my management style. It is a great team and I am really enjoying it. The scope of the role is bigger, the salary is bigger, the package is better, my whole standard of living has improved and I still have a good work-life balance.
Coaching has given me the confidence to be who I want to be. I feel like I am in a really good place. When I look back to where I was a year ago and where I am today, the difference is almost incomparable. I had been off work for a few months with an injury, I had put weight on, I wasn’t very mobile but now I have lost a stone, joined a gym and eat healthily. Coaching has transformed my whole life. Of course, there was a lot of soul searching involved and there were tears at times because coaching can be emotionally tough but Denise and I had an agreement that to get the best out of coaching, she could push me so I worked through the issues I needed to. I came away from every session feeling like I had taken a massive step forwards and I could always see the progress that I was making. Denise constantly gave me feedback about how well I was doing and if I had a little blip between times, I knew I could just email her.
I would absolutely have coaching again. In fact, I have already asked Denise if I could self-fund a couple of refresher sessions in 2018 because I don’t want to lose my momentum. Lastly, I would not hesitate to recommend Denise to anyone, her support is truly invaluable.